“My Lisa is dead — the marks of a vampire on her throat!”
A vampire (John Carradine) pretends to be the uncle of a beautiful young woman (Melinda Plowman) engaged to Billy the Kid (Chuck Courtney).
Shot in just eight days in Simi Valley — back-to-back with its “counterpart”, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966) — this infamously awful hybrid horror-western by director William “One Shot” Beaudine is, like its companion piece, based upon a reasonably inspired revisionist concept: what if a famous western outlaw (like Billy the Kid or Jesse James) were brought back to life and given a chance to interact with a notorious horror icon such as Dracula or Dr. Frankenstein? Unfortunately, the concepts behind these two clunkers are the best things about them. In this case, Courtney makes for a disappointingly boring Billy the Kid (who has reformed from his murderous ways), and while Carradine is given a few pieces of choice dialogue to spout — “Where do I find this backwoods female pill slinger?” — he doesn’t quite ham it up enough to make his role all that memorable.
Meanwhile, everything else about the production is just sloppy enough to be mildly laughable (n.b. the presence of lackadaisical western music playing in the background while Billy tells Betty [Plowman] the shocking news that her mother has been killed in a stagecoach attack by Indians; the noticeably shoddy attempt to film night-time sequences during the day; Carradine’s transformation into a silly rubber bat on a string) — but not sloppy ENOUGH to categorize it as even close to Ed Wood’s “league” of truly bad films. It does earn additional “sloppy points”, however, for its egregiously lazy attempt to validate Dracula as a viable protagonist in the film: as pointed out by Richard Scheib of the SF, Fantasy, and Horror website, Dracula (who is never named as such in the film, btw — only in the title) is actually “of little consequence to the plot”, given that he could just have easily been conceived as “a conman attempting to steal the land”, and is noticeably “allowed to walk about in daylight”.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Virginia Christine’s refreshingly sincere performance as an immigrant woman wary of Carradine from the start
Yes, simply to have seen at least one of Beaudine’s infamously titled “bad movies” (though either would probably suffice). Listed as a Camp Classic in the back of Peary’s book.
Posted on March 31st, 2011 by admin
Filed under: Original Reviews